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Sharing Urban Space: A People’s Assembly (Workshop 2)

November 2, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


There are ongoing tensions and challenges in how we use, allocate and govern our urban space in York. Join the Sharing Urban Space People’s Assembly – a new approach to citizen engagement for York – to identify, research and debate the issues and to collaboratively develop a strategy that will be submitted to senior officers and the Executive.

Current and changing picture

In any given street there are different uses and users, raising questions about how we allocate the space available. These different uses include: walking, cycling, use by wheelchair users, cars, parking and blue badge parking, bus and bus stops, deliveries and servicing, use of public space for cafes or other commercial activities and trees and other planting.

While we are aware of some of the current uses, future trends are uncertain. How will car use change as technology advances? With the decline of city-centre retail, what activities and land uses will come to fill the voids currently opening up? Will urban transport planning be used as a tool to steer these changes or will it simply respond when they are guided by other forces?

York’s adopted transport hierarchy is an inadequate tool for these place-based issues. It is too broad in that it doesn’t help navigate the intersection of types of movement. It is also too narrow in that it fails to go beyond movement to consider the other – non-transport uses – of public streets.

Challenge and conflict

These different uses often end up becoming competing uses in specific design and management decisions. It is often hard to find precedent when looking for guidance on how to resolve this competition as use of space has a cultural dimension and overseas examples do not necessarily translate into solutions in the UK context.

Arising from a variety of recent discussions, it has become clear that openly and collaboratively developing a set of strategic principles which will work across York is essential.

A People’s Assembly

Convening these discussions as a People’s Assembly gives the forum a clear authority and establishes a mode of working which:

• Is committed to an inclusive approach to participation and to ensuring a diversity of perspective;

• Enables a wide variety of ways of knowing and understanding the issues and evidence;

• Builds in collaborative enquiry into the process;

• Is driven by deliberation and discussion.

• Leads to an outcome that gains widespread legitimacy and will provide a basis for decision-making.

People’s Assembly: Format

We are running two events, bookending a process of enquiry and sharing of ideas.

Step 1: 5th October. In the first event we will identify the issues from the perspective of many different individuals and groups. We will consciously avoid seeking solutions but will aim to develop a clearer view of the challenges, to provide a starting point for further work.

Step 2: We will then set up working groups which will use the month before the second event for research and enquiry, exploring how people have done this elsewhere, talking to other people and groups in York and drawing in new evidence that will help the deliberations.

Step 3: 2nd November. The second meeting will be used to identify some fundamental principles by which decisions over how to use and distribute public space will be made by City of York Council in future. If we need further meetings this will be decided by the Assembly itself.

Following the People’s Assembly the recommendations will be submitted to senior officers and the Executive.

If you would like to join the People’s Assembly book here or email myfutureyorkresearch@gmail.com

The Sharing Urban Space People’s Assembly is a collaboration between Andy D’Agorne, Executive Lead for Transport and My Future York.


November 2, 2019
10:00 am - 1:00 pm


My Future York


City of York Council West Offices
George Hudson Room, Station Rise
York, YO1 6GA
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